LA Times travel writer Chris Erskine discovered the treasure trove of information that is the California Fall Color web site – and I’m glad he did. I’m also glad Erskine rented a car and drove up north to get a look at some of the California foliage for himself, because he came back with a great article and some amazing photographs.

A self-described California foliage skeptic, Erskine initially discounted California Fall Color’s claims that the Golden State has the longest and best autumn color in the nation – but after a few days leaf-peeping in the Eastern Sierras, he changed his tune:

To all you Eastern transplants who pine for the fall colors of your childhood, fly up U.S. 395 with me in my rental Ford, past the cottonwoods and aspen groves that light the hillsides like glowing campfires … keep an open mind as I tell you that, over the years, I’ve traveled up and back the Eastern Sierra like a guy mowing his yard, back and forth on that pipe of U.S. highway that never gets enough notice this time of year … Yep, keep an open mind as I tell you that I have never seen the Eastern Sierra more beautiful — not in 6 feet of snow or in sparkly summer splendor.

Sounds pretty nice, right? There’s also a photo gallery on the Times’ site, if words aren’t doing it for you.

Most of the time with fall travel articles like this, they publish them just in time for you to realize you haven’t seen any good color yet … and can’t make it out to hit that 1-week sweet spot. But luckily, because California has such a wide range of elevations, our fall color lasts a lot longer than it does on the East Coast. For instance, the site is now reporting the nearby San Jacinto Mountains are just about to hit peak color. Maybe it’s time to plan a short day trip or overnight?

… and if you can’t, then maybe it’s just time to search for some good pictures from this year’s foliage harvest in New England. I was there a few weeks ago for my sister’s birthday and it was pretty darn beautiful:


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